hemp

EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved a support letter to Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for Assembly Bill 45 — regarding industrial hemp products — Tuesday, February 9.

AB 45 is said to stimulate California’s economy by expanding the hemp CBD market (cannabidiol), fostering new jobs and tax revenue, and creating a regulatory structure that will ensure consumer safety, according to the letter.

The letter also outlines several critical milestones, including allowing the hemp CBD plant top to be used in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and pet products. The bill purports to ensure consumer safety, including label standards that provide essential information to the consumers. If passed, it will require CBD consumer product testing that mirrors comprehensive testing requirements for cannabis; and it will apply existing requirements of the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act to all hemp CBD consumer products. The bill would add numerous new product lines to the marketplace subject to sales tax.

There are approximately half-a-million acres of farmable land in Imperial County, according to the letter. Imperial County Intergovernmental Relations Director Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter said the new industry has the potential to create jobs and generate economic development in the community.

“More than half of the states in our country have adopted laws that have allowed hemp CBD to be used in food, beverages, and dietary supplements. With California not being one of those states, we are at risk of losing businesses that are looking to expand their operations into that industry,” said Terrazas-Baxter. “Also, as a community with abundant agricultural opportunities, as Supervisor Escobar mentioned earlier, this industry has the potential to create jobs and spur economic development.”

County documents state industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis sativa plant that does not produce intoxication when consumed. The document also states CBD acts as a potential medicine for the treatment of various illnesses.

AB 45 was introduced by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry in December, and is intended to remove food, beverage, or cosmetic restrictions on the use of CBD derived from industrial hemp. The bill states derivatives from industrial hemp are not considered adulterants, allowing products to be sold legally.

All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction. However, federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, making it illegal, but does not habitually enforce against it, according to Harvard Health Blog.

"As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy in Imperial County has been profoundly distressed. Tax revenues are expected to decrease over the next few years, many jobs have disappeared, and the ability of the State to rebuild itself in a timely fashion is uncertain. However, this legislation can help move us forward," the letter stated.

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